Updating Results

Northrop Grumman Australia

  • 50,000 - 100,000 employees

Scott Xing Du

The tasks I enjoy most are those that are both critical to the systems and may involve significant learning on the job, as they often can be best in broadening my experience.

Where did you grow up? Important stages of your life (school, education, experience abroad, jobs etc.)

I grew up in New South Wales, Australia. I graduated from high school at Normanhurst Boys’ High School in 2011, and from the University of Sydney in 2019. 

Prior to working at Northrop Grumman, I worked as a high school chemistry and physics tutor at James An College at Eastwood whilst undertaking my degrees at the University of Sydney. After completing my university coursework, I worked casually as a Quality Assurance Officer at Boardroom Australia.

How did you get to your current job position? For how long have you had it?

I originally applied to the C-27J platform as a Configuration and Data Management Officer with the Technical Services team. I started on the platform in November 2017 as a Technical Services Officer (TSO) until May 2019 when I transitioned into my current role as an Aircraft Structural Integrity (ASI) Engineer. I have held the role for 9 months. 

How did you choose your specialization (compared to others)? / Were you weighing up any other alternatives before choosing this specialization?

During my transition from a Technical Services Officer, I was given the option of joining the distinct design services or ASI / MTCH services teams on the platform. My decision to work within the ASI / MTCH team was because the work would be broader in scope and give me a wider range of system and engineering. 

What was your interview process like? What kind of questions were you asked?

The interview was with a member of the HR staff, the team leader, and the chief engineer. The platform members were interested in my application as I was a graduate engineer applying for a technical position. They indicated that after developing knowledge and further experience within the industry, I would have the opportunity to advance my career as a professional engineer.

The questions were stepped to develop an understanding of my experience, team dynamics and my interest in the aviation industry. This involved questions like ‘describe a team environment situation where you had to deal with complex issues’. I was also asked about my honours thesis and what I believed were the qualities required to work in the industry. 

What does your employer do?

  • Northrop Grumman is proud of its established relationship with the Commonwealth of Australia and is committed to enhancing its business and geographic footprint in the country. They have a strong customer base in Australia and have been supporting a variety of defence and civil programmes here for more than 20 years.
  • As a leading provider and integrator of autonomous, C4ISR, cyber, logistics and strike systems and solutions, Northrop Grumman works with Australia’s Defence Force to ensure border and Pacific-region security and mission success.
  • Northrop Grumman is deeply committed to growing its investment in Australia through partnerships and acquisitions. In addition to Qantas Integrated Defence Services (now Northrop Grumman Australia – Technology Services), Northrop Grumman acquired M5 Network Security (now Australian Intelligence & Cyber Solutions), a Canberra-based provider of cybersecurity and secure mobile communications.

What are your areas of responsibility?

My broad responsibility is to support and ensure the platform’s aircraft are structurally sound to perform the missions and roles expected by the operator. My current responsibility is in support of the Structural Condition Monitoring System (SCMS) which in short, provides the data capture of the aircraft’s structural condition as it evolves over the life of the platform.

Can you describe a typical workday? What was the last thing you worked on?

My typical workday can cover a range of activities to support the SCMS. This may involve development or review of the system’s routine reports, review and design of the updated system and assisting team members.

The last thing I worked on were updating process instructions and maps for our document management system. This involved revising the content of the existing instructions to align with the current day processes.

What are the career prospects with your job? / Where could you or others in your position go from here? 

My key career prospects involve moving upwards, which would include the Team Lead for ASI / MTCH or ultimately, as the Chief Engineer. However, these positions also require seniority and experience, e.g. over 8 years of industry experience.

What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now? 

Out of university, I had an interest in coding, more often than not, scripting to describe mathematical systems. I may have pursued programming or data analysis.

What do you love the most about your job? Which kind of task do you enjoy the most? 

The wide range of activities that require continuous learning is the best thing about the job. Everyone in the team is keen to help and develop my knowledge base to facilitate continued growth and learning. The tasks I enjoy most are those that are both critical to the systems and may involve significant learning on the job, as they often can be best in broadening my experience. 

What’s the biggest limitation of your job? Do you bear a lot of responsibility? Do you have to work on weekends? Are stress levels high? 

My career path is focused on building up the skills and knowledge internally via the technical or engineering authorities. The level of responsibility in my current role is high. I do not often work on the weekends unless there are immediate time crunches or unexpected sudden tasking. Stress levels are often moderate due to the work culture emphasis on work-life balance.

Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?

  • Start looking at work experience even if it’s not required. This will give you some understanding of what certain aspects of the job may be, as opposed to what it appears to be. It will help inform you further about what you want to do after university ends.
  • Look into considering exchange programs. This will help expand not only deepen your understanding, but could widen your network, your interests, and will definitely broaden your experiences. 
  • Enjoy your time at university.